I find the whole Ched Evans story deeply disappointing.
Social media has led to a mob mentality: Evans blamed the collapse of a deal with Oldham on a mob mentality. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Clive Efford, the Labour MP, have all voiced their unease about Evans being helped back into the national game, and none is an obvious exponent of “mob rule”. Equally I can’t quite see Jess Ennis as being the leader of a mob as she challenged Sheffield United to rethink their view on him returning to the club. Instead the mob mentality that led to the collapse of the deal was that of Evans’ supporters making death threats to the Oldham staff and their families. There were even suggestions one director was told the address where his daughter worked and that she would be raped if Oldham proceeded.
Footballers seem unable to talk about the importance of being a role model: I have not heard any professional or ex-professional footballer come out and talk about the importance of how they are a role model to influential young people. Last November, the chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, described it as “not an important issue” on Newsnight, although this week he issued a statement saying that “it was important” to look at the issue of player’s behaviour, adding: “I would encourage the game to consider and discuss this matter and the prospect for future guidelines and codes of conduct.” The PFA and FA need to set up strict guidelines about how players can rehabilitate themselves, and inspire the young who regard them as role models.
A lack of apology: The apology has taken too long to come, finally arriving 83 days after he was released from prison, via the Professional Football Association (PFA):
“I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career.
“Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.
“I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.
“Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so.”
It is a classic PR written statement which apologises for the “effects that night in Rhyl has had on … the woman concerned” but not for his actions – it comes across like the child who is forced by a teacher to say sorry to another child for hitting them – they aren’t really sorry.
Henry Winter hits the nail on the head with this:
Evans’s next step on the road to rehabilitation must be to undergo an educational programme in which he learns respect for women and then works for the Professional Footballers’ Association in urging young players to avoid what has become known as “night games”.
Parts of the professional game have a misogynistic problem towards women, an arrogant outlook that the PFA should be confronting rather than embarrassing itself by trying to rush a convicted rapist back into professional football before he has served his sentence. Evans is out on licence. He should be allowed to return to football only when the judicial process is complete, and when he has shown proper contrition.
Footballers’ sense of entitlement, encompassing the “I’ve got a bird” culture, cheating on their partners, having sex with a woman too inebriated to give consent as laughing team-mates try to film events, before leaving through a fire escape, has now been challenged by the public.
Ditch the website: In addition I believe that Evans should take down his website. This website has fuelled his supporters who insist he is innocent, and yet fail to remember that he was found guilty by a jury and his leave to appeal was rejected by a Lord Chief Justice. This website includes asking visitors to “judge for yourself” from the uploaded CCTV footage from the night in question whether his victim was incapable with drink. It doesn’t come across as someone who is showing remorse.
The key to all of this is that Ched Evans is not the victim. She is.
The latest in the People Are Awesome series has clips from videos uploaded in 2014. These people are doing awesome and crazy things – something I’ll certainly be using with my young people in the next few weeks:
Jose Aldo humiliates Neymar by doing a Rainbow Flick over him – some serious skillage from the village.
York City goalkeeper Michael Ingham is left red-faced after his decision to go upfield for an attacking corner backfires.
Ingham made the foray forward as York looked for a last-gasp equaliser in their FA Cup first-round replay at AFC Wimbledon.
But the Dons won possession, leaving striker Matt Tubbs to put the ball into an empty net for his second of the night and a 3-1 victory for the home side.
Check out the video from 57 seconds onwards:
One of the exciting things for football fans is choosing your favourite player’s name to get on the back of a replica shirt. So spare a thought for Twitter user @JBridle2, whose heart must have sank when news broke that Southampton had elected to send loanee Saphir Taider back to Inter after he failed to settle at the club.
Bridle had chosen to get Taider’s name on the back of his shirt after he signed on a season-long loan deal earlier in the window – an almost fool proof way to ensure that his shirt remained ‘in date’ for the coming season.
Exasperated, the Saints fan tweeted a picture of his misfortune to the club’s official Twitter account, as can be seen below.
Credit to Southampton, though, not only did they acknowledge the tweet but they also promised the fan that they would replace the offending kit.
In today’s climate where fans seems to be ignored by the club they support this is a great act by Southampton.
As Steven Gerrard netted from the spot to become Liverpool’s all-time penalty king during the 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Jan Molby watched on with self-confessed mixed emotions.
The former Reds midfielder was on media duty at White Hart Lane, enjoying a prime viewing position to see the side’s No.8 successfully stroke home a spot-kick – his 43rd for the club.
Before Gerrard became a feared foe from 12 yards, Molby himself had previously held the record, but ‘the Great Dane’ takes solace from the fact that it was the captain reaching the milestone.
“A player like me wasn’t renowned for being a goalscorer so I never had too many records but it was nice to have held that for a while. In a way it was a little bit sad, but if a record is going to go and it’s gone to one of Liverpool’s all-time greatest ever players, then I can live with it. Steven has worked on penalties over the years and when he takes one now you always expect him to score. He strikes the ball really well and he puts the ball into the corners. He is an inspirational player for Liverpool and remains a big part of the team. In my opinion, there are not that many players left in football today that can lift one team. He can.”
Asked to describe the art of taking the perfect penalty, Molby assessed that each player will have his own individual style of seeking to beat the goalkeeper – not least his own approach. He continued:
“People have their own technique and how they want to approach a penalty. Some people make up their mind early and stick to that when they run up, but my style was slightly different. I believe there are three things that are important when you take a penalty, which is the ball, the goalkeeper and the goal. I used to wait for the goalkeeper to make his move and then put the ball the other way. If the goalkeeper didn’t move I would always try to put the ball low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right.”
For the second season running at White Hart Lane, Liverpool were clinical throughout and eased to victory via a strike by Raheem Sterling, Gerrard’s penalty and an Alberto Moreno stunner.
There are fairy tale stories and there’s Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets, who have amazingly qualified for the group stages of the Champions League – all thanks to their heroic centre back Cosmin Moti:
With the scores level over two legs against Steaua Bucharest, the match went into extra time, where many tipped Ludogorets to be beaten, especially after their goalie was sent off.
But defender Moti grabbed the gloves and went in goal, and as the match went to penalties, he performed magic by brilliantly saving two spot kicks.
The second of which crucially won the match, securing his team a place in the Champions League group stages with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
The saves were also worth about £30million in prize money, which will definitely help Ludogorets who are in the process of paying for a new stadium.
Liverpool will kick off their 2014-15 Champions League campaign by welcoming Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad to Anfield on Tuesday September 16. The Reds end a five-year absence from the elite European tournament with a home fixture against a team that they have never previously met competitively.
The Reds were pitted against the holders of the competition in Thursday’s draw in Monaco, and they’ll also face trips to Switzerland and Bulgaria. Madrid, who claimed their 10th European Cup with victory over city rivals Atletico in Lisbon earlier this year, last locked horns with Liverpool back in the 2008-09 campaign. The teams met at the last 16 stage and after Yossi Benayoun’s late header secured a famous 1-0 first-leg win at the Bernabeu, the Reds ran riot in the return at Anfield – powering to a 4-0 triumph in front of the Kop. The only other competitive game between the teams came in the 1981 final in Paris when Alan Kennedy’s goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bob Paisley’s team.
Liverpool also have recent history with Basel after they were pitted against each other in the Champions League first group stage in 2002-03. The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield, while the Reds came from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3 at St-Jakob Park. Basel have won the Swiss league title five times in a row.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have never faced Champions League newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad previously. The Bulgarian title holders secured their place in the competition in incredible circumstances against Steaua Bucharest in the play-offs. After trailing by a goal from the first leg in Romania, Wanderson netted a last-minute volley to force extra time in Razgrad. However, they were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off in the 119th minute. It meant centre-back Cosmin Moti was required to go in goal for the penalty shootout – and he emerged the hero, sensationally saving two spot kicks to ensure Ludogorets progressed 6-5 on penalties.
2014-15 Champions League fixtures
September 16 – Ludogorets Razgrad (H)
October 1 – FC Basel (A)
October 22 – Real Madrid (H)
November 4 – Real Madrid (A)
November 26 – Ludogorets Razgrad (A)
December 9 – FC Basel (H)
Brendan Rodgers revealed how he received a text message from Luis Suarez on Sunday morning wishing his former club all the best for their first game of the new season against Southampton.
Rodgers explained the gesture to reporters in his post-match press conference following the clash, during which he also reiterated his desire to add another striker to the Reds ranks before the close of the transfer window.
When asked how he felt Liverpool would fare without Suarez this season, the boss said:
“Our ambitions here at Liverpool, they have to be bigger than one player – I’ve said that repeatedly. Big clubs will lose players. Our ambition is bigger than Luis. He sent us a lovely text this morning wishing us all the best and that [he hopes] we start strong. It was a great gesture. He’s a friend of Liverpool now. But we look forward. We’re bigger than any one single player. I do still think we want another striker. It’s something we’ll look at, but it’ll depend on the availability of one. We’ll search for that through until the end of the window. But you see the players and the quality we have. The fluency will come and today was about the win – and we got the win.”
Asked if he responded to the text message from Suarez, Rodgers replied:
“I did, yes. He’s a good boy, but he’s gone. His heart is with Liverpool and he’ll always be Liverpool. It was a lovely touch.”
Liverpool have confirmed Pepe Reina has completed a transfer to Bayern Munich.
Reina moved to Merseyside from Villarreal in the summer of 2005 and made an immediate impact, helping the Reds achieve a club record 11 successive clean sheets in all competitions.
Indeed, his maiden season would end in glory as Liverpool defeated West Ham United on penalties in the FA Cup final in Cardiff, with the Spaniard saving three of the Hammers’ four spot kicks in the shoot-out.
In April 2007, Reina’s shut-out against Blackburn Rovers meant he’d kept 28 clean sheets in his first 50 league games – setting another club record.
His penalty-saving prowess was evident once again one month later as he helped the Reds edge out Chelsea in a dramatic Champions League semi-final victory at Anfield.
In 2008, Reina claimed the Barclays Golden Glove award for a third successive campaign, while in 2009-10 he was voted as Liverpool’s Player of the Season by supporters.
The 31-year-old added one further accolade to his collection, picking up a winners’ medal as the Reds beat Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final in February 2012.
In total, Reina made 394 appearances for the club before spending the 2013-14 season on loan at Italian side Napoli.
Everyone at Liverpool FC would like to wish Pepe all the best for the future.
Rickie Lambert, the man who never missed a penalty for Southampton FC, failed with his first spot-kick for Liverpool last night.
The striker converted all 34 of his competitive spot-kicks during his remarkable five years at St Mary’s. But he failed to score his first penalty for Liverpool when he saw his effort during last night’s 2-0 friendly win over AC Milan saved by Christian Abbiati.
The Reds still won 2-0 in Charlotte, America, with goals from Joe Allen and Suso.